UFC On FOX 15 Fight Breakdown: Beneil Dariush vs. Jim Miller

BeneilDariush One of the prelims at UFC on FOX 15 is a three-round lightweight bout between Beneil Dariush and Jim Miller. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Dariush is a -175 favorite (bet $175 to win $100) while Miller is a +155 underdog (bet $100 to win $155). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Dariush at -140 and Miller at +100, and action has since come in on the favorite Dariush. I agree that Dariush should be favored to win, although I do think the line is a bit high. Here’s why. Dariush (10-1) is 4-1 in the UFC with wins over Daron Cruickshank, Tony Martin, Carlos Diego Ferreira and Charlie Brenneman with his lone loss coming to Ramsey Nijem. The 25-year-old Iranian is currently riding a three-fight win streak since that loss to Nijem and overall has looked tremendous. Training with UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, Dariush has shown incredible improvements in his total MMA game. We already knew he had a great ground game, but his striking and wrestling have also improved by a wide margin, making him a dangerous out for anyone at 155lbs. However, while he has looked great, for the most part he has been fighting mid-tier fighters and Miller is by far the best opponent he’s had to date. If Dariush continues to show his improvements, then this is a winnable fight for him, but there’s no doubt Miller is a dangerous opponent and this won’t be an easy fight for Dariush, win or lose, even considering Miller’s decline. Miller (24-5, 1 NC) is one of the top 15-ranked lightweights in the UFC and has been a perennial contender for years. The 31-year-old American is 13-4, 1 NC in his UFC career with wins over the likes of Yancy Medeiros, Joe Lauzon, Melvin Guillard and Gleison Tibau with all of his losses coming to elite fighters in the lightweight division. Miller is known for his sneaky-good ground game and overall has 13 career wins by submission, including a highlight-reel tapout on ground ace Charles Oliveira. His wrestling is solid, as well, and his striking, while not great, is pretty effective for the most part — just look what he did to Medeiros last year, hurting him with a body shot before submitting him. Despite his success in the Octagon as a whole, however, he appears to be on a decline and is coming off of a one-sided KO loss to Donald Cerrone last summer. Still, it’s hard to write Miller off just yet considering what he did to a solid fighter like Medeiros just last year. He’s on a decline, no doubt about it, but perhaps it’s not as big of a decline as we think. Had this fight with Dariush happened a year ago Miller would have been the favorite, but after losing to Cerrone in such devastating fashion, the public is off the Miller hype train and he enters this fight as an underdog, one of the few times he’s been a dog in his recent UFC career. This is a pretty interesting fight. Dariush has looked great as of late, but he has not fought someone of Miller’s caliber yet. I do believe Miller is on a decline, though, which is why I have to side with Dariush as a fade on Miller, but Miller presents an interesting style matchup for Dariush here. If this fight hits the floor, and it probably does, most will give the edge to Dariush and it’s hard not to, but most also gave Oliveira the ground edge over Miller a few years ago and Miller pulled out a brilliant kneebar for the submission win. I don’t think Miller will submit Dariush, but it wouldn’t be completely shocking, either. If this fight stays standing I give Dariush a big advantage and I think he can use his kicks to damage Miller, but Miller is a tough guy and I’m not sure if Dariush will be able to knock him out. I’m still picking Dariush because I can’t ignore the age and skill differences, but Miller is a crafty veteran and at the current price I don’t really see value in Dariush here for a bet as he’s taking this fight on short notice and he’s also fighting in Miller’s backyard. However, I don’t see enough value in the current odds on Miller as a dog to play him, either. Dariush by decision is the pick, but no play.

Written by Adam Martin.

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